New Zealand Glow Worms

The fishing lines of New Zealand glow worms
Glow worms use sticky fishing lines to catch their prey.

Believe it or not, this bizarre-looking scene was the adventure that I looked most forward to doing when Jennifer and I decided to go to New Zealand. These are the sticky threads of New Zeland glow worms. They use these threads like fishing lines to catch their prey and pull them in.

The New Zealand Glow Worms

Night Sky from under ground
The glow worms light up the cave walls like a tapestry of the night sky.

The New Zealand glow worms live in dark damp caves and have an ability to use bioluminescence to glow blue in order to attract their prey. It is an amazing thing to be in pitch black darkness and look up to see a ceiling covered in these small glowing blue lights. If you didn’t know any better you would think you were looking at the stars in the sky. These little creatures are insignificant and downright ugly when you can find them in the light but cluster them together, turn out the lights and they will create a beautiful universe like a tapestry.

The Caves

We went to the most famous of the glow worm caves in Waitomo, but we also did the tour of the Ruakuri cave system nearby. The main room in the Waitomo cave is without a doubt spectacular! It is, however, brief and they don’t allow you to take photos. Not that you really could. It is pitch black except for these tiny bioluminescent lights.

Ruakuri Cave

The Ruakuri Cave
Deep in the Ruakuri Cave.

For my money, the Ruakuri cave tour was hands down the best. You get more time in the caves with more history about the place, zoology about the worms, geology about the caves, and stories about the place. Plus, you can take a tripod which is how I got these shots. If you drag your feet the guide will leave you in the cave (accidentally) and the automatic sensors will time out and you will find yourself all alone in pitch black darkness. It happened to me :)! The guide came back for me. I tipped him well! The lights don’t stay on long because artificial light is bad for the worms. To much light and they can’t compete. They will go hungry because they aren’t able to attract insects.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. MARK HYRE says:

    very cool Jake, this is a great site

    1. momentsbeyond says:

      Thanks Mark!

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